Last night we were invited along to Brighton Holistics Network Evening to talk about canine massage. Normally when I deliver workshops, I start with asking whether anyone in the group has had a massage themselves (which usually gets a few yes’s) and then ask whether they have ever massaged their dog (which usually gets a lots of no’s but then “Ooooo…maybe I should” so the light starts coming on about benefits). With this group, most had experienced a massage so the question was how many had a dog. It turned out all have a dog, or had a dog or want to work with dogs so I was winning there.
We had massage therapists, beauty therapists, Reiki practitioners, aromatherapists and even some who already worked in equine therapy. The dogs they had ranged from Labradors to Collies to Spaniels and Rottweilers. But for the evening we only had our faithful demo dogs of Sam and Sarah who did their usual playing up to the audience.
The evening was centred around differences between human and canine massage in terms of muscles, skeleton, techniques used, preparation, exercises, stretching and aftercare. They realised that working with dogs is not the same as massaging a human on the floor. We then went through a series of pictures and videos of some of the dogs I’ve worked with to test their new-found canine physical therapy detective skills – what techniques would be most beneficial for a dog with this condition and how could you treat them?
Finally, the therapists got their talented hands on Sam and Sarah. To say that our two slept incredibly well and deeply last night was testament to how good the therapists were. One of my favourite moments was when a therapist who had been practicing on Sarah swapped over to Sam. When I asked her how he felt different to his sister, she replied “Oh…his muscles feel fuller”. Now those are pretty good technical skills to have learned in such a short time.